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Friday, January 31st, 2014

Villages both benefit from development

By William Kincaid
NEW KNOXVILLE - Village officials were concerned when Brookside Laboratories moved to neighboring New Bremen to expand its operations.
But Crown Equipment allayed those worries when it purchased the facility on South Main Street, New Knoxville Village Administrator Rex Katterheinrich said Thursday morning at the annual State of the Villages Breakfast at First United Church of Christ.
"Crown has done a terrific job of using local contractors to make improvements to the ground-level office space of that building," he said. "As of right now, they've got staff and personnel who are working there every day. So we're very excited about that, and we hope to see that building further rejuvenated and more jobs coming in the future."
Brookside, which has independent consultants around the world, provides services to agricultural, environmental and sports turf clients. The company also participates in a variety of university and government research projects.
The New Knoxville site was landlocked and the company moved into a new, 38,000-square-foot facility at the Bunker Hill Industrial Park at the west edge of New Bremen off state Route 274 in 2012. The land purchase and building construction were a $2.4 million investment.
"The downturn in Knoxville became the positive for us," New Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape said. "We did get Brookside."
Brookside, Pape said, began operating at its new location in January 2013.
"They've already grown into a space that they have reserved as an idle area, and it has something to with some state testing ... and it hired two more employees, so we're happy to hear that."
New Knoxville officials, Katterheinrich said, expected a downturn in income tax collections with Brookside's departure.
"We did experience that obviously (but) ... our village council took it upon themselves - we had to tighten our belts, we had to live within our budgets, and we did so, I think very well, and we do so ... without having to actually reduce our services or our safety and protection ," Katterheinrich said.
Katterheinrich is excited about 2014, noting over a mile of roads on nine different streets in New Knoxville will be resurfaced with a $58,000 grant from Ohio Public Works Commission and $40,000 of village roadway improvement funds.
This will be the largest village capital improvement project since 2009, Katterheinrich said.
Also expected this year are the replacement of a bridge near the church on state Route 219 and improvements to Main Street.
In New Bremen, the search for a new source of drinking water will be the major project, Pape reported.
"We've been poking more holes around New Bremen than we care to. We're up to 21 now," he said. "We think we finally found an area that's going to satisfy our needs for water, and we're starting with the EPA approval and other things to get that hooked up."
In addition to verifying the quality of water at two test well sites located on property owned by Crown Equipment Corporation - the Thieman Farm north of Amsterdam Road and the Hehr Farm north of state Route 274 - Poggemeyer Design Group this week was contracted to estimate the cost of the projects, review funding sources and assess the existing well field and water treatment plant.
Pape also spoke about a new trail that will be built this year.
The New Bremen project includes engineering and construction of a 1.12 mile by 10-foot-wide paved pedestrian, handicapped and bicycle path from the lockkeeper's house in New Bremen north to Lock Two Road, connecting the downtown with the Kuenning-Dicke Natural Area and Bremenfest Park.
"After a long process, and I do mean long process, the Miami-Erie towpath project should go out for bids in April," he said. "We hope to have that done later this fall."
Minster Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller highlighted projects initiated or completed in 2013, including a proposed Safe Routes to School project that garnered a $102,000 Ohio Department of Transportation grant for improvements at the intersection of Main and Seventh streets. The project involves installation of upgraded traffic signals and school zone flasher assemblies. Funding will be given in 2016.
"However, due to restrictions on when the funds can be used, the project will not begin until 2016," Kitzmiller said.
Also, work started on the development of three new wells on the village-owned Luedeke Farm located west of Minster, Kitzmiller pointed out.
The proposed well field consisting of two 12-inch wells and a 8-inch well is hoped to meet future water needs as the village grows.
"The two 12-inch wells will produce roughly 700 to 800 gallons per minute, which will greatly aid in the village's (goal) to meet the ever-increasing demand for water," he said.
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